Thurston County's Hidden Sector

Unhidden: Thurston County's services for LGBTQ+ people

Also: Armed Forces Day, Americorps members seeking housing, what you missed about the Marathon


Today, May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. The purpose of this day is to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide.

Can you define LGBTQIA+?

I recently came across one of the best guides to learning more about supporting this community a website/guide called Trans 101 - Trans 101 is meant for new allies to the transgender community as well as folks who have recently found that they were transgender and/or exploring the possibility of being transgender.

Locally there are also several organizations that support the LGBTQIA+ community that you might want to check out.

  • Stonewall Youth - Founded in 1991, Stonewall Youth is a youth-led organization that empowers LGBTQ+ youth to speak for themselves, support each other, educate our communities, and work for social justice. 
  • SAGE Olympia (Services & Advocacy for LGBTQ Elders) – SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults. SAGE Olympia provides education and outreach on LGBTQ senior issues, including both LGBTQ Eldercare awareness programs and LGBTQ Eldercare Cultural Fluency training to help improve existing services for LGBTQ elders. 
  • PFLAG Olympia - PFLAG-Olympia is the local chapter of the nation’s foremost family-based organization committed to the civil rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons. The mission of PFLAG is to promote the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, their families, and friends. 
  • Pizza Klatch – This locally started nonprofit serves the needs of LGBTQ+ students at 14 local high schools and one middle school. Established in 2007, the group organizes lunchtime support groups some 28 times each week during the school year. Yes, pizza is usually served, along with safe access to services, information, and support.

Did you miss the Capital Marathon this past Sunday – So did I!

The Capital City Marathon Association (CCMA) is a nonprofit organization that has been coordinating the Capital Run on the third Sunday in May for 41 years (except for the last couple of years due to the pandemic).

CCMA uses the proceeds from the run to offer grants for nonprofit projects in Thurston, Lewis, and Mason counties to increase the understanding and practice of healthy living. Programs focus on personal health and fitness through physical activity (like a marathon), nutrition, personal growth through accomplishment, and other positive health habits and attitudes. If your nonprofit fits this description, contact CCMA ( as grant applications are due May 27! If you are not part of a nonprofit, time to get training for next year!

 Got an extra room? Consider renting it to an AmeriCorps member!

Serve Washington has been selected to participate in a Homesharing Resource Center pilot program that aims to offer more affordable housing options to AmeriCorps members in the state of Washington. For those who may not be aware, Serve Washington is the federal arm within Washington that coordinates the national service programs such as AmeriCorps, as well as volunteerism efforts, and civic engagement efforts in the state of Washington.

Homesharing is when a homeowner lists space in their home to live with a housemate in exchange for rent. This program provides access to Silvernest, a platform where renters and homeowners can post profiles and find matches based on compatibility. It also allows users to securely message one another, take background checks and create a homesharing agreement to set expectations for their shared space. For more information visit

 Armed Forces Day is this Saturday!

Everyone is invited to enjoy activities for all ages at JBLM’s Armed Forces Day this Saturday, May 21, from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. at Heritage Hill, McChord Field. Admission, parking, military displays, historical reenactments, and entertainment are all free.

Visitors can explore static military aircraft and vehicle displays, including infantry-carrying vehicles and weapons displays as well as see living history encampments representing military life in the past and ask questions to learn more about bygone eras of military field life. In addition, there will be stage entertainment, roving entertainers, military dog demonstrations, laser tag, games, food, and craft vendors and more. The general public (those without DOD ID) must use the McChord Field Main Gate, I-5 exit 125, to enter the installation and follow the instructions to the satellite parking area where you will take the free shuttle bus to the event site. Buses will run continuously throughout the event. Note: Every person entering JBLM is subject to search.

For updates and more information go to

Soliciting your ideas

If you know of a nonprofit that is doing something great, celebrating a success, needs some outstanding volunteers, or hosting an event, let me know! This column (aside from a little education) celebrates nonprofits! 

Mary Beth Harrington, CVA (Certified Volunteer Administrator) lives in Tumwater. She travels the country speaking at conferences and to individual organizations articulating issues facing nonprofits. Send your ideas to her at


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